Baked Macaroni in rich bolognese sauce (vegan)

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Baked macaroni in vegan bolognese

Baked macaroni in a rich saucy vegan bolognese, topped with emmental and Parmesan cheese. True comfort food that feeds the soul.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian, vegan, vegetarian
Tags bolognese, pasta, sauce, tomato, vegan, vegetarian
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Silvia Cooks


  • olive oil, a generous amount
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt
  • 130 gr texturised soy
  • 1 cup hot water or vegetable broth
  • 400 gr tomato sofrito or sauce / crushed
  • dried thyme and basil
  • red wine, a drizzle
  • 330 gr cooked lentils (optional)
  • 6-8 mushrooms or 2-3 carrots (optional)

Condiment pasta

  • 3 tbsp tamari sauce
  • 2 tbsp balsamico vinegar
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste (optional but recommended)

To plate

  • 400 gr cooked macaroni or rigatoni (save some pasta water)
  • emmental and Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese (or your preferred vegan cheese)
  • black pepper


  1. Set a large pan to mediem heat over the stove. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil. finely chop the onion and garlic cloves. When the oil is hot, add the onion first and mix until it's well coated. Cook for a few mins, until it softens.

  2. Add the chopped garlic cloves, mix well.

  3. Add the texturised soy, stir and add a little extra oil if the bottom of the pan is drying up.

  4. Meanwhile, rougly chop the mushrooms and add them to the pan, mix.

  5. Add a drizzle of red wine to deglaze the pan. Allow it to evaporate at medium-high heat.

  6. Mix the condiment paste (balsamico, tamari and miso paste) in a bowl. Heat up a little broth or water and add it to the bowl.

  7. Add the bowl content to the pan and stir, bring up the heat and cover. Allow the ingredients to absorb the flavours, the texturised soy will soften in the process.

  8. Add the tomato sofrito (or sauce), lentils and dried herbs. Mix well and cover. Reduce to low heat and let it simmer for a few mins.

  9. Preheat the oven to grill at 220ºC. Start cooking the pasta and grate your preferred cheese(s). Oil or butter a baking tray.

  10. Taste the pasta. When it's al dente, strain it but remember to leave a little pasta water in the pot. Pour the pasta back in, add the bolognese sauce and mix (you decide the ratio of pasta:sauce).

    Allow the pasta and sauce to bind at medium heat. Pour the pasta into the baking tray, sprinkle some grated cheese and bake for 5-10 mins until the cheese has melted and started to become a little golden-brown.

  11. Crack some black pepper and serve hot. Enjoy!

Bolognese is a comfort staple dish: the richness of the sauce, the chewiness of the meat (sub), the all-time comfort feeling of eating pasta and the final layer of chese… All those combined have the ability to bring us back to childhood and warm our hearts, froms the inside out.

New series: #PlantBasedPopeye

I am starting a new series called #PlantBasedPopeye (if you don’t know who he was, check out Who was Popeye?). The goal of this series is to:

  • Showcase some of the best plant-based protein sources out there,
  • Learn about their properties and
  • How to cook them

What is special about this dish?

This recipe is inspired in George Eats’ FODMAP friendly bolognese – if you haven’t checked our her blog and books, I would do so. This recipe is NOT FODMAP-friendly, but it draws from a similar flavour profile.

We use wine, tamari, balsamico and miso paste. These are powerful rich flavours that give depth and richness to the sauce.

This bolognese is vegan. And full of plant-based protein. By using texturised soy, lentils and whole-wheat pasta, we are drawing from 3 different sources of protein.

Sauté the onions and garlic on the pan with olive oil
Texturised soy and mushrooms

A brief introduction to texturised soy

Origin. Texturised soy protein (TSP) is a defatted soy flour product, a by-product of extracting soybean oil. It was developed by Archer Daniels Midland in the 1960s but its consumption only skytocketed after 1971, which is when TSP was approved for use in schools in the US. It can be found in different shapes and forms: chunks, flakes, nuggets, grains…

Nutritionally. Texturised soy is mostly protein (51%), carbohydrates (34%), a little water (7%) and almost no fat (1%). It is considered a rich source of B vitamins (thiamine or B1, folate or B9) and minerals (phosphorus, magnesium and iron). In its dried version, it contains about 51% of protein. When consuming, it is usually hydrated, which will naturally drop the protein % a little (grams per weight). The protein in soy is considered a complete protein i.e. it contains all nine of the essential amino acids the human body needs to function (and cannot produce on its own, thus called “essential”).

How to cook it? I usually sauté it and then hydrate it (using a little or broth). It needs to soak up some type of liquid to soften and become easily chewable.

Where to find it? In Spain, you can find it at Mercadona (250g for 1.50€). Vegan-friendly or health stores nowadays sell this product too, in different versions of it.

We use tomato sofrito (sub for crushed tomatoes or plain tomato sauce)
Cooked lentils are added at the end.
Place in a baking tray

“I think careful cooking is love, don’t you? The loveliest thing you can cook for someone who’s close to you is about as nice a Valentine as you can give.”

Julia Child
Before digging in… Take a minute to enjoy the beauty of this dish

Food = Love?

I think it definitely can. It depends on how you and the people around you interpret love and what your love languages are (if you don’t know which are yours, check this out).

I was very lucky to grow up in a home where food was always appreciated and enjoyed. At home we ate delicious but uncomplicated food: meat or fish with vegetables, baked pasta, rice dishes, we barbecued and ate cold gazpacho (it’s never warm, but just making a point for all those non-Spaniards who were ever served a warm version of it) in the Summer and had warm soup in the winter. A nice cake or dessert was always present (and still is) during weekends and my parents have always had a sweet tooth – and kindly passed that on to me in their genes; thanks a lot

Sprinkle your favourite cheese combination: we used Emmental and Grana Parmesan.

Sole, my non-biological mother, fed me since I was a day old. And to this day, she still does. Although she isn’t literally bringing the spoon to my mouth, she always makes sure I take some food or prepared dish with me home after visiting her: spinach and mushroom croquetas and canneloni, cooked chickpeas, baked red peppers, bread, vegetables… and the list goes on.

Bake for a few minutes on grill mode, until the cheese is golden-brown.

So I believe food = love. And as my cousin Marta says…

“There is no love as sincere as the love of food.”

Marta Centeno

OK, George Bernard Shaw said this. But I never met him and I’ve heard and read this from my cousin so many times… It has become her saying.


If you try this recipe, please let me know how it went in the comments section.

If you share it on social media, tag me @silvia.cooks and use #SilviaCooks and #PlantBasedPopeye.

Bon profit!


Save any bolognese leftovers for another day. Use as stuffing or filling, in a lasagna or with rice, as a side dish or however you like!